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Jenkins hears about drug treatment effort

The top medical care providers in Letcher County will join with economic development groups and a Louisa-based treatment center to bring badly needed addiction treatment to the county.

At the March meeting of the Jenkins City Council, Mountain Comprehensive Care CEO Mike Caudill told the council that MCHC has formed a consortium with Addiction Recovery Care (ARC) of Louisa. He said Dr. Van Breeding will spearhead MCHC’s effort and that Appalachian Regional Health Care is onboard as well. Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR) and the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP) also work with ARC.

According to its website, Addiction Recovery Care, LLC operates a network of state-licensed Residential and Outpatient Drug & Alcohol Abuse Treatment Centers in Kentucky. The network includes seven residential treatment centers including a women’s center in northeast Kentucky near Ashland, a women’s center in southeast Kentucky near London, a women’s center near Harlan, a men’s center near Morehead, a men’s center near Ashland, a men’s residential center near Somerset, and a center for pregnant women in northeast Kentucky. Current capacity in the residential centers is 112 beds. In addition to the residential program, ARC operates outpatient treatment centers that offer intensive outpatient (IOP) and outpatient programs.

Caudill said the program has a high success rate because it treats all the phases of drug addiction including withdrawal, counseling, and helping patients get a job that pays a decent wage when they get out. He said many of the counselors and other personnel at the centers are former addicts and alcoholics who went through the program. ARC calls its program a Holistic Drug and Alcohol Recovery Program that creates a culture of compassion, dignity, and accountability where patients can develop skills necessary for life after recovery. ARC has a number of regional and state accreditations and is licensed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky as a drug and alcohol treatment center.

ARC describes the program as being guided by Christian principles and focused on treating the whole person with a three-phase program that prepares patients for long-term recovery. It is designed to take patients through detox all the way through completing an internship with ARC. Treatment begins with a 30- to 60-day detox period that features personalized individual counseling with addiction specialists, spiritual mentoring, and Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Celebrate Recovery meetings.

Step two, a 30- to 60- day guide to sober living, includes intensive outpatient care and personalized case management. It also features one-on-one and group counseling, further spiritual mentoring, peer support in a sober living environment, and ongoing NA, AA, and Celebrate Recovery meetings. Phase three continues recovery programs and adds progress toward an associate’s degree through Sullivan University, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid training, and an internship and eventual employment at the recovery center. ARC accepts a number of insurance plans and is also covered by Kentucky Medicaid. Caudill said he has been assured that recent changes in Medicaid will not affect the treatment program.

Caudill told the council that while drug addiction has cost the region at least a generation, he also sees drug addicts as an untapped resource once they have received treatment. He invited council members to tour the treatment facility in Louisa and said MCHC will provide transportation and arrange the visit. A film that details the program wil be shown at the Whitesburg Campus of Southeastern Kentucky Community and Technical College at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 26. The public is invited.

In other business, the Jenkins council awarded the engineering bid for the Lake Improvement Project to Nesbitt Engineering of Lexington at a meeting called just prior to the council meeting for the purpose of opening and examining bids. Nesbitt Engineering received a score of 385 and the other bidder, Gregg and Associates of Lexington, received a score of 345. The council voted unanimously to award the bid to the candidate with the highest score. Mayor Depriest Todd also said the city’s long-running sidewalk project has reached the stage of submitting the final form and he hopes it will be finished before the city’s homecoming festival in August.

In a related matter, Mayor Depriest pointed to a one percent unaccounted loss of treated water for February. This represents the smallest loss since the Jenkins Waterline Replacement Project was undertaken during the administration of Mayor Robert Shubert. The overall loss was two percent, which included the use of 25,000 gallons at the wastewater treatment plant and an uncounted loss of 157,000 gallons. Depriest attributed the lower rate to the new lines and said there are only a few places with older lines, and city workers know where the trouble spots are. The remaining lines will be replaced when funding is available.

Councilmember Rebecca Amburgey asked about what she said had been described to her as logging that was taking place in several areas in Jenkins, but councilman Rick Damron said it is a company engaged by Kentucky Power to cut rights of way for power lines. Depriest said they are doing good work and added that the city is working with various state agencies to make certain they are not harming the watershed.

Debbie Chavis of the Homecoming Committee reported that the committee is having fundraisers each month and will hold a swap meet in March 31. She said the committee had started the year with a $7,000 carryover from last year and added that several acts have been set. The council approved the committee’s request for a fundraising roadblock for April 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Depriest added that the monthly Cruise In will be held on the first Saturday evening of each month and that the city may also include a Bike Night and a mini-truck show.

Depriest also said that several groups are working with the city on economic development and on ways to clean up the city and make it more attractive to potential businesses. He said one sore point is the old division shops, which badly needs to be addressed. Depriest also said that with spring on the way it’s time to clean up the city and asked people to keep trash out of their yards. He said the city will begin work on patching potholes in city roads when weather permits.

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